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Florida Air Academy, the Melbourne based private school for boys and girls in grades 6-12, has announced that it is the first high school in central Florida to proactively administer the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) computerized assessment to all students.
With the Centers for Disease Control reporting an increased level of sports-related, traumatic brain injuries to people under the age of 19, it is no surprise that baseline testing is gaining momentum in high schools and colleges throughout the country–with schools like Florida Air Academy, Nova Southeastern and Florida Institute of Technology, proactively administering tests.
“Florida Air Academy made the decision to implement ImPACT testing because we believe it ensures student safety and a more accurate diagnosis in the event of injury,” said Barbara Kaufman, R.N. and F.A.A. school Nurse. “The tests give comfort to parents who are concerned about their children playing sports, and can help the school make a more accurate determination as to whether a concussion occurred and whether a child is ready to return to athletic activities.”
The ImPACT test is administered on a computer and takes about 25 minutes to complete. It measures verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time. It is available in multiple languages, which is especially helpful for a school like Florida Air Academy that has students from more than 25 countries in its student population.
Should a head injury occur, the school is able to treat the student and then re-test within 3-5 days of an incident. The before-and-after test results can then be provided to the treating physician to more accurately determine the severity of an injury, and importantly, whether a student is physically able to return to play.
If a concussion is suspected, the baseline report serves as a comparison to a repeat ImPACT test, giving physicians something concrete to use in assessing potential changes or damage caused by a concussion–rather than solely base their analysis on subjective statements like “I feel dizzy” or “I have a headache.” Baseline tests are suggested every two years for students in grades 6-12. Florida Air Academy requires them each year.
Texas Physical Therapy Specialists (TexPTS), a Central Texas physical therapy practice with more than a dozen offices throughout the state, will use the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) screening for concussions.
“ImPACT screening is a great mechanism for ensuring athletes are healthy before hitting the field again, no matter the sport,” said Jon Sams, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS. “If not treated properly, concussions are life threatening. Athletes who return to play without allowing for proper healing can experience staggering neurological injury and in some cases death. Bottom line, it’s not worth skipping one of these 20-minute screenings.”
The Certified Athletic Trainers and Sports Certified Specialists at TexPTS provide ImPACT screening during the pre-season to measure brain abilities and are also present at student athletic events. If an injury occurs they can immediately compare the student’s pre-season brain abilities to his or her current abilities. TexPTS can then refer athletes, as needed, to doctors who specialize in the treatment of these injuries.
TexPTS hs offices in Austin, Cibolo, Central Texas, Dallas, Georgetown, Hill County, Liberty Hill, Live Oak, Randolph Air Force Base, New Braunfels, Parmer/Pflugerville, Round Rock, San Antonio, San Marcos, Schertz, Selma, Spring Branch, and Universal City.
ImPACT Applications, Inc., developer of the ImPACT© Test and ImPACT Concussion Management Model, announced an exclusive partnership with American Youth Football (AYF) and American Youth Cheer (AYC) to enhance athlete safety for their member teams across the nation.
Through the partnership, ImPACT will provide “convenient, inexpensive access to reliable neurocognitive concussion baseline testing” to AYF football teams and AYC cheerleading squads throughout the United States. ImPACT also will customize a training program so AYF coaches can participate in baseline test administration.
AYF is the largest youth football and cheer organization in the world, with more than 14,000 football teams, 8,000 cheerleading squads and 1 million coaches nationwide. AYF has not experienced a decline in enrollment like many youth football leagues have in recent years. Instead AYF has shown consistent growth, which the organization attributes to strategic alliances they have established with companies that benefit and serve their athletes and coaches.
“Safety is the first priority at American Youth Football,” said Joe Galat, President and Chairman of the Board of AFL. “We are committed to providing the most professional and safe environment for our athletes, and partnering with the industry leader in baseline testing will enable us to do exactly that.”